Concept: High school football
Historical approaches to protect the brain from outside the skull (eg, helmets and mouthpieces) have been ineffective in reducing internal injury to the brain that arises from energy absorption during sports-related collisions. We aimed to evaluate the effects of a neck collar, which applies gentle bilateral jugular vein compression, resulting in cerebral venous engorgement to reduce head impact energy absorption during collision. Specifically, we investigated the effect of collar wearing during head impact exposure on brain microstructure integrity following a competitive high school American football season.
American football is the largest participation sport in US high schools and is a leading cause of concussion among adolescents. Little is known about the long-term cognitive and mental health consequences of exposure to football-related head trauma at the high school level.
American football remains one of the most popular sports for young athletes. The injuries sustained during football, especially those to the head and neck, have been a topic of intense interest recently in both the public media and medical literature. The recognition of these injuries and the potential for long-term sequelae have led some physicians to call for a reduction in the number of contact practices, a postponement of tackling until a certain age, and even a ban on high school football. This statement reviews the literature regarding injuries in football, particularly those of the head and neck, the relationship between tackling and football-related injuries, and the potential effects of limiting or delaying tackling on injury risk.
Recent technological advances have allowed the in-vivo measurement of impacts sustained to the head during helmeted sports. These measurements are of interest to researchers and clinicians for their potential to understand both the underlying mechanics of concussive injuries and the potential for real-time injury diagnostics. Following an overview of impact biomechanics, this review will evaluate the following: in-vivo technology being used in American football players; impact frequencies and magnitudes; and the biomechanical threshold for concussion.
BACKGROUND:Fatalities in football are rare but tragic events. PURPOSE:The purpose was to describe the causes of fatalities in high school and college football players and potentially provide preventive strategies. STUDY DESIGN:Descriptive epidemiology study. METHODS:We reviewed the 243 football fatalities reported to the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research from July 1990 through June 2010. RESULTS:Football fatalities averaged 12.2 per year, or 1 per 100,000 participants. There were 164 indirect (systemic) fatalities (average, 8.2 annually [or 0.7 per 100,000 participants]) and 79 direct (traumatic) fatalities (average, 4.0 annually [or 0.3 per 100,000 participants]). Indirect fatalities were 2.1 times more common than direct fatalities. The risk of a fatality in college compared with high school football players was 2.8 (95% CI, 0.7-8.2) times higher for all fatalities, 3.6 (95% CI, 2.5-5.3) times higher for indirect events, 1.4 (95% CI, 0.6-3.0) times higher for direct injuries, 3.8 (95% CI, 1.8-8.3) times higher for heat illness, and 66 (95% CI, 14.4-308) times higher for sickle cell trait (SCT) fatalities. Most indirect events occurred in practice sessions; preseason practices and intense conditioning sessions were vulnerable periods for athletes to develop heat illness or SCT fatalities, respectively. In contrast, most brain fatalities occurred during games. The odds of a fatality during the second decade, compared with the first decade of the study, were 9.7 (95% CI, 1.2-75.9) for SCT, 1.5 (95% CI, 0.8-2.9) for heat illness, 1.1 (95% CI, 0.8-1.7) for cardiac fatalities, and 0.7 (95% CI, 0.4-1.2) for brain fatalities. The most common causes of fatalities were cardiac failure (n = 100, 41.2%), brain injury (n = 62, 25.5%), heat illness (n = 38, 15.6%), SCT (n = 11, 4.5%), asthma and commotio cordis (n = 7 each, 2.9% each), embolism/blood clot (n = 5, 2.1%), cervical fracture (n = 4, 1.7%), and intra-abdominal injury, infection, and lightning (n = 3, 1.2% each). CONCLUSION:High school and college football have approximately 12 fatalities annually with indirect systemic causes being twice as common as direct blunt trauma. The most common causes are cardiac failure, brain injury, and heat illness. The incidence of fatalities is much higher at the college level for most injuries other than brain injuries, which were only slightly more common at the college level. The risk of SCT, heat-related, and cardiac deaths increased during the second decade of the study, indicating these conditions require a greater emphasis on diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.
There is limited information on the relationship between football helmet fit and concussion severity.
- The Journal of orthopaedic and sports physical therapy
- Published almost 7 years ago
Study Design Retrospective epidemiologic investigation. Objective To investigate the relationship between altitude and concussion rate in the National Football League (NFL). Because of the physiologic responses that occur during acclimatization to altitude, it was hypothesized that games played on fields at a higher altitude would have reduced concussion rates compared to games played on fields at a lower altitude. Background Recent research indicates that the elevation above sea level at which football games are played may be associated with the likelihood of a concussion in high school football athletes. Methods Data on incident concussions and athlete exposures for the first 16 weeks of the NFL 2012 and 2013 regular seasons were obtained from publicly available web-based sources and used to calculate competition concussion rates for each NFL stadium. Concussion rates were analyzed in relation to game elevation. Results During the first 16 weeks of the 2012 and 2013 NFL regular seasons, 300 concussions, involving 284 players, were reported (64.3 primary cases per 10 000 game exposures). The odds of a concussion were 30% lower when playing at a higher elevation (equal to or greater than 644 ft [196.3 m] above sea level) compared to a lower elevation (odds ratio = 0.70; 95% confidence interval: 0.53, 0.94). A multivariable generalized linear model controlling for season, week, and clustering of team at home and away confirmed these results, showing that the odds of at least 1 concussion were reduced by 32% in games played at higher elevation. Conclusion The results of this epidemiological investigation indicate that increased altitude was associated with a reduction in the odds of a sport-related concussion in NFL athletes. The reported relationship of concussion incidence and field elevation should be further investigated, and, if verified, further work will be needed to understand why that relationship exists. Level of Evidence Prognosis, level 2c. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther, Epub 28 January 2014. doi:10.2519/jospt.2014.5298.
Football helmets used by high school athletes in the United States should meet the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment performance standards. Despite differences in interior padding and exterior shells, all football helmets should provide comparable protection against concussions. Yet, debate continues on whether differences in the rates or severity of concussions exist based on helmet age/recondition status, manufacturer, or model.
Schedule-based and in-season factors (e.g., competition type) have been shown to be associated with symptom reporting patterns and injury severity in sport-related concussion (SRC). To determine if acute neurocognitive and symptom presentation following SRC differ by time point within a high school football season.
High-intensity sport training at the youth level has led to increased concern for overuse conditions. Few researchers have examined overuse conditions in youth sports.